Cincpac File No. UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET
U.S.S. Pennsylvania Flagship
Pearl Harbor, T.H.,
December 12, 1941.
||Rear Admiral R.H. Jackson, U.S. Navy (retired).
||Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet.
||Attack on Pearl Harbor from 0755 to 0930, 7 December 1941.
- The following account of the attack was observed from the wharf in front of my house at 649 Coral Avenue, Pearl City Peninsula and from the door step of the house. The house is opposite the Lexington's berth at Ford Island. The first attack started at 0755 and lasted for about 45 minutes; the ships having just hoisted the "preparatory" for colors.
- At the sound of a bomb explosion at 0755 I went out on the wharf, which runs about 150 feet toward the channel.
- I noted at once the line of ready planes on the South end of Ford Island were burning with heavy smoke.
- Then I noticed an explosion in the channel opposite the Utah. Soon the Utah began to list very slowly at first; and about the end of the first attack she heeled rapidly, suddenly capsized, rolling away from the dock. A few second later a heavy explosion came from the hulk toward the shore. As the ship heeled her small crew on board escaped toward the shore.
- During this period the Raleigh seemed to be settling and heeling slowly.
- I saw no overhead bomb attack on either of these ships and I do not know how the Raleigh was damaged.
- During this attack practically all planes had leveled off as they came down the Northwest shore of the peninsula, passing over three nests of destroyers and apparently heading directly for the Lexington and the Curtiss berths. Several of these planes flew quite low and not much higher than the Curtiss' masts, and banked to the right as they left the harbor.
- At the end of the attack about 0830 a formation of 6 or 9 planes at safe height circled the harbor, apparently to observe the effect of the attack. heavy gunfire was directed at them without effect.
- About 0900 a second and much heavier attack was directed from the Northwest again. This attack was especially against the Curtiss. That ship was twice set on fire and while extinguishing them, the ship maintained a brisk fire from her forward battery.
- During this attack bombs dropped on both quarters of the Curtiss; another crashed on her boat deck on the port side.
- A plane coming very low under hot fire from across Ford Island, apparently out of control smashed into the Curtiss on her starboard side and sank.
- In the second raid about 0900 to 0930, the Curtiss was the especial target. During this period she opened fire on her starboard quarter on a reported submarine.
- A destroyer came up and skillfully dropped a depth charge between her own stern and that of the Curtiss. Though the Curtiss surged forward heavily and the destroyer's bow was driven toward the beach, neither vessel seemed damaged by the depth charge which was well placed to destroy the submarine reported there.
- During this period the Curtiss used her damage control skillfully and her forward battery was well handled despite two fires caused by bombs.
- Information through her loud speaker was well broadcast by her throughout the attack.
- This attack was pressed on against the Curtiss through heavy gunfire. Little attention seemingly was given by the attackers to the three nests of destroyers and the Medusa which intervened, nor did I see any attack delivered against the converted patrol tender lying at Ford Island between the Curtiss and the Raleigh.
- The Curtiss was energetically and skillfully handled throughout both attacks and her broadcasting was excellent.
- No mention is made of incidents in battleship channel as I was not favorably placed to report them and there were many observers at that point.
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret).
Source: Enclosure (E) to CINCPAC action report Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942, World War II action reports,
Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740.